Next stop: North Canterbury

Small towns, beachside villages, and as many breaths of fresh air as one could want.

North Canterbury is a haven escape from the city, yet close enough to still feel like home. The cafés and retail shops nestled amongst the gorgeous greenery are the cherry on top of a day spent exploring our backyard.

Get out the camera
North Canterbury is covered in scenic spots just waiting to be captured through a lens. Just over an hour away from Christchurch, Castle Hill (Kura Tāwhiti) is a renowned spot for photographers of all abilities. So popular in fact, that the Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, was filmed there. A stairway to one of nature’s heavens, Castle Hill boasts endless grassy hills, rugged up with a landscape of cultural and natural significance. It’s a conservation area, holding a Topuni status to respect the values of Ngāi Tahu, but still allows visitors to explore its beauty. With plenty of walking tracks to discover, and photographic opportunities to grasp, Castle Hill and its surroundings are worth the drive.

Get back to nature
Between sea and land, North Canterbury is home to many unique animals, and to walking tracks enough to please any age and fitness stage.

Animal encounters
Kaikōura’s natural offerings make it the famous spot it is. Between dolphins, seals, albatrosses, llama, and whale encounters, you’ll find the most exciting and heartwarming experiences all along the Kaikōura coastline.

When you’re struck with bursts of energy, yet cannot commit to driving very far, there are more than enough hiking tracks north of the city. The Glentui waterfall and nature trail, a gorgeously fresh and inviting bush walk, or the Kaikōura peninsula walkway, where the seaspray keeps you cool and those stunning coastal views make you smile, are just two to try.

Get salty
Summer is the time to enjoy warm water, salty, voluminous hair, a beach picnic, or an evening overlooking the sunset. North Canterbury’s beaches are where you need to be, with your sunscreen of course.

Spencer Park Beach
Close to Christchurch, Spencer Park Beach is an ideal spot to take the whole family this holiday season. With plenty of picnic spots and barbecues available, this beach epitomises the ‘make a day of it’ vibe.

Woodend Beach
This beautiful strip of beach is a favourite for many Cantabrians, especially keen young boogie boarders. A word of warning though, it’s best avoided on a windy day when its openness leaves it exposed to strong, blustery winds.

Waikuku Beach
Further north, Waikuku Beach has a reputation for being a quiet, calm, and captivating spot on the seaside. It’s North Canterbury’s best-kept secret with everything you need to enjoy time with the family, and get back to nature.

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